Emmanuel, God With Us

By Not Known

Christmas is finally here.  Shopping malls, hotels, streets and even churches are decorated with colourful lights and ornaments.  Although both entrepreneurs and Christians celebrate Christmas, it holds different meanings to them.  To the entrepreneurs, Christmas decorations are opportunities to attract potential customers.  To the Christians, Christmas decorations are important reminders of God’s story.  
The candles, in particular, represent Jesus and the lighting of the candles, the coming of the Light and the messages He brings: hope, peace, joy and love.  (When candles are extinguished on Good Friday, they symbolize the departure of the Light and the world covered in darkness.)  In addition, some theologians suggested that the four candles during the four Sundays of Advent represent the four hundred years of silence between Malachi and the angelic visitations in the books of Matthew and Luke.
No matter how significant or meaningful decorations are, they are merely representations of the meaning of Christmas.  The real meaning of Christmas is “God with us.”  So what does God with us means?  To Moses, God with us (him) means rest, refuge and fortress. Having experienced the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night (Exo 13:21), Moses told the Lord that not to send them (Israelites) out if His presence will not go with them (Exo 33:15).  To King David, God’s presence means courage, enabling him to walk through the darkest valley (Ps 23).  To Joseph, God’s presence means success. “When his master saw that the Lord was with Joseph,… Joseph found favour in his eyes (Gen 39:3).  To Paul, God’s presence means God will be with him throughout eternity.  “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven.. then we who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord (1 Thes 4:16-17).”
Would you like to experience this wonderful promise?  What then should we do to experience God with us?  First, have a right relationship with God.  Let God be the Saviour and Lord of your life (Rom 6:23).  Second, desire God’s presence.  Ask God to give you a heart that longs for Him (Eze 36:26). Finally, be holy just as our God is holy.  Follow, observe and keep His commands for if we do so, God promises to “live with us (1 Kgs 6:12-13).”
Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  We light the first candle of hope ans remember the promise “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given (Isa 9:6).”  However we celebrate not only the first coming of Christ but we are once again reminded that God is already with us. Therefore, let us live our lives purposefully for the second Advent of our Lord Jesus is approaching.




Agnes Tan